GENOLA — Town leaders want to keep a planned all-terrain vehicle trail away from commercial orchards.
Mayor-elect Danny Throckmorton said the thousands of acres of orchards are sensitive to dust, and he has strongly suggested the 26-mile trail system planned by Payson, Utah County and state parks officials take a higher road. The trail could skirt Genola town limits, providing recreation for residents.
The plan now is to move the trail higher up on the mountain. Originally, it was to follow the Highline Canal, but a mountain trail would be more interesting and challenging, said Richard Nelson, Utah County's public works director.
A racetrack also is planned near the Payson city dump. Rocky Mountain ATV is working with government officials to build the motocross racetrack that officials say would attract national races.
"It would put Utah County on the map," Nelson said.
He wants to have the track ready for a demonstration on Labor Day next year with the goal of getting nationally sanctioned races on Labor Day, beginning in 2011.
"It would probably be the only professional event in Utah," said Dan Thomas of Rocky Mountain ATV.
The racetrack would be the first phase of the trails project, followed by a riding area.
"We're always telling kids, 'You can't ride here,' " Payson Mayor Burtis Bills said. "This would give them a place to ride."
SWCA Environmental Consultants is studying the area for impacts, but the location of the trail needs to be decided before the cultural impacts are studied, researcher Laura Vernon said. Impacts on vegetation are being analyzed now, but wildlife impact studies won't take place until winter is over, Vernon said.
While most of the trail would be on Bureau of Land Management property, it could also cross portions of some 14 privately held parcels, including one owned by Genola Town Councilman Byron Draper.
"I will work with you," Draper said, "but it would make more sense if the trail was by the road."
However, officials are working to avoid private property.
A memorandum of understanding is yet to be inked between Payson, Utah County, the state, the Bureau of Land Management and Rocky Mountain ATV, said Dale Bartholomew of the state parks department. The county public works department would manage the venture.
Another information meeting is planned for Wednesday at Payson City Hall, 439 W. Utah Ave. A BLM scoping meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, also at Payson City Hall.
"We could open up an unbelievable trails system," Bills said.